Thursday, November 30, 2006

Bad news from Scotland

The proposed Scottish Fisheries Bill could contain a blanket livebait ban, instead of just giving officials powers to ban livebaiting where they claim it is necessary to protect rare species, it emerged today.

The following ammendment has been put before members of the Scottish Parliament's Environment Committee:

"viii Use of live vertebrates as bait

Paragraph 50 of the Policy Memorandum states that the enabling power to specify particular baits and lures (at section 25(5) of the Bill) for freshwater fish would be “considered in the first instance to implement the Executive’s policy of prohibiting the use of live vertebrates as bait throughout Scotland”.

"Some stakeholders have commented that this provision would be better on the face of the Bill. Ministers have an open mind as to whether this policy is better served through primary or secondary legislation and would be prepared to consider an amendment at Stage 2 to make the
prohibition on the use of live vertebrates as bait explicit on the face of the Bill should the Committee recommend it."

The Bill is expected to be debated in Mid-December.

More information in this section of the Scottish Parliament's website.

Details of members of the committee and their e-mail addresses are here.

Our submission regarding the Scottish Fishery Review which was enacted into the bill can be viewed here.

I didn't call for livebait ban, says Bill

PAC founder Bill Chillingworth today insisted he did not call for a livebait ban.

There was anger after the former president appeared in print, purportedly calling for a livebait ban.

But when contacted by PAC secretary Mark Barrett today, he insisted: "The reporter asked me for my opinion on how a ban on livebaiting would effect me.

"I replied that it wouldn't affect me very much as I only livebait on occasion these days, but when conditions warrant it, I will as long as it is legal reserve the right to do so.

"I did not call for livebaiting to be banned and I will quite happily go into print or blow the trumpet for livebaiting where it is carried out to the current law.

"The reporter tried on several occasions to put words into my mouth but I was not biting on that one."

The paper said Bill had abandoned livebaiting and had recently caught three twenties on paternostered sardine.

But he told Mark: " I have never, as reported, used a paternostered sea dead bait, I only use a paternoster for live or dead natural baits, and the big pike that is mentioned in the story, I told the reporter quite openly was caught on a small, live roach."

Members flying in says Brummy John

More than 400 new members have joined the PAC since May, membership secretary John Cahill said tonight.

Forms to take part in our recruit a friend promotion, which gives everyone who signs up a new member an entry into the draw to win a brand new boat, will shortly be in the post, along with tickets for the PAC's winter Mega Raffle, with 100 prizes including a Continental catfish trip.

Blueprint for Water is launched

Anglers and conservation groups have teamed up to launch a Blueprint for Water, with 10 demands to ensure sustainable supplies by 2015.

More here.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

ET lands in Walton on Thames

He invented the drifter float and a whole host of tackle items we now take for granted, when he wasn't nailing a string of big fish from Norfolk and Hertfordshire.

Lea Valley legend Eddie Turner, aka ET, is speaking to our Walton on Thames branch on Monday, December 11 (8pm).

For more details, check out their website.

PAC saddened by Bill's call for bait ban

The PAC tonight said it was "saddened" that one of its founding fathers has called for an end to livebaiting.

It said comments made by Bill Chillingworth, which were reported in a regional newspaper, were made in a private capacity and did not reflect the opinion of the club or its committee.

Chillingworth, from Hingham, Norfolk, told the Eastern Daily Press he believed live baiting should be banned.

He went on: "I would support any proposal to stop livebaiting because law and order surrounding these practices has been surrounded by anarchy, with a minority of pike anglers prepared to go to any lengths to satisfy their swollen egos.

"There seems to be growing evidence that moving live fish unlawfully from one venue to another is rife and I believe the authorities are almost bound to step in and ban the use of coarse fish as bait.

"Three of us fomed the Pike Anglers Club of Great Britain nearly 30 years ago to promote and protect the image of our sport.

"But now it has become a dreadful rat race to attain fame and fortune by the minority at the expense of the rest of us."

Chillingworth was one of the three founder members who started the PAC, in 1977. The club has campaigned to preserve the pike and pike fishing ever since.

Tonight PAC president Phil Wakeford said: "Bill is speaking as an individual and we don't agree with him, regardless of whether he is one of the founders of the club. His comments do not represent the views of the PAC.

"It won't just stop at livebaiting and that's why we have to make a stand. That's where the club and the majority of its members are.

"We are saddened that one of the great pike anglers of his generation should be so scathing about his fellow anglers at a time when we are trying hard to promote unity and the importance of following our code of conduct."

The PAC stall at the Sandown Winter Carp Show, on December 9 - 10, will have copies of the club's livebaiting code, which urges pike anglers to follow bylaws and not move livebaits from water to water.

Chillingworth's comments came after a high profile court case in which two members, who have since resigned from the club, were caught taking livebaits aboard a ferry to Ireland. Both pleaded guilty.

Nige Williams, one of those charged, later spoke of his regret at the damage he had done to the sport.

The PAC has made it clear it expects members to follow its code of conduct and has recently expelled a member for breaching it.

North Lanarks hosts talk on Awe

Our North Lanarkshire region is hosting Dave Mcinally on Tuesday, December 12.

He'll be talking about his experiences of fishing Loch Awe.

The do's at the Joker Bar in Calder Road, Mossend. It kicks off at 8.00pm, £3 to get in and a light buffet will be served.

Monday, November 27, 2006

PAC president talks in Herts next week

PAC president Phil Wakeford is doing a talk in Hertfordshire on Thursday, December 7.

He'll be speaking about his lifelong love of the pike and pike fishing at Aldbury Village Hall, near Tring.

Doors open at 7.30pm for one of only two talks El Pres is so far booked to give this winter.

Admission is £3 for PAC members, £4 non-members.

New PAC region starts in North Essex

John Hartill is the RO for a new PAC region kicking off in North Essex.

Anyone in that part of the world can get in touch via J(dot)hartill(at)

or phone him on 07946-168624

Peter Green is on the mend

Peter Green - former membership secretary and RO for Wakefield - was admitted to hospital with kidney problems over the weekend.

Good news from Andy "Kosh" Kershaw tonight, who reports he has spoken to Peter's family, things are improving and he'll hopefully be out tomorrow.

Guide was misquoted over pike killing

A Scottish fishing guide today said he was misquoted over claims the pike could be the latest food fad north of the border.
An article in Saturday's Daily Mail said the pike had "had its chips", because more and more of them were being eaten.
But Stuart Collingswood, of Alba Game Fishing, who was quoted in the piece said he was misrepresented.
"We staged five pike trips last season and no pike were killed by our clients," he added. "We practice catch and release and have a massive respect for the pike.
"Not a single pike's been killed by one of my clients, we promote the environment and fish stocks. It's hard to swallow when you've been branded some sort of fishmonger.
"I don't condone killing fish unnecessarily and we're very strong on maintaining a balance. I've kicked poachers' arses off our lochs."
Mr Collingswood said he did kill two jacks last season but said this would have had no impact on the lake concerned.
"They were both jacks, killing a 25lbs fish would have taken away one of the predators that maintains the natural balance but a couple of jacks won't have any impact."

Sunday, November 26, 2006

UK's £500m tackle trade employs 18,000

The tackle trade employs more than 18,000 and turns over more than £500m a year, says a survey out this weekend.

Figures included in a survey by industry journal Tackle and Guns Magazine show the trade overall has grown by around five per cent since the last survey three years ago - and carp fishing has grown by a mammoth 42pc in that time.

We spend more than £100m on bait a year, more than twice what we spend on clothing, the T&G survey says.

Coarse anglers spend £169.7m, carp anglers £110.69m, game anglers £138.29m and sea anglers £97.12m.

See you at the shows next year

We plan to attend at least four of the major shows next year, after discussing some of the benefits at today's committee meetings.
They'll include Go Fishing; the CLA Game Fair; Cambs Country Fair, Stow-cum-Quy; The Carp Show, Sandown.

PAC30 project gets the go-ahead

Plans for a book to commemorate the PAC's 30th anniversary were given the go-ahead by the committee today.
Members will be given the opportunity to subscribe in advance to both reserve a copy and have their name added to a list of pike anglers who have supported the project.

Boycott matches which don't follow code

PAC members are being asked to avoid any pike matches which do not observe the the club's Code of Conduct for pike matches, the committee ruled today.

Efforts to get more organisers to sign up will also be stepped up.

AGM and Convention dates for next year

Next year's AGM will be held in Nottingham on Saturday, May 19.
The Convention will be held at Stoneleigh, Warwickshire, on Saturday, September 22.
Tickets for the event, which marks the PAC's 30th birthday, will be priced £10.
However this includes parking, saving those who attend at least a tenner and having to queue up for an argument with a parking attendant afterwards.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

And they're off... First win a boat form in

The first person to join up a new member and be entered in our draw to win a brand new Sea Nymph went into the hat today.

You can now download and print off the forms online - why not run a few off and stick 'em in your rucksack to hand out on the bank next time you're out.

Membership form.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Win a Sea Nymph promotion latest

Details of the PAC's exciting new recruitment promotion, in which members can enter a draw to win a brand new boat by getting a friend to join the club are now on our website.

We've also uploaded a copy of the new membership leaflet which you need to take part, which has a space for you to write your membership number to show you've introduced someone to the club and get entered in the draw. Download it to print off a copy here.

And remember, the more members you recruit, the more entries you get in the draw to win the boat.

If you're not a member or your membership's lapsed, don't worry. You'll be eligible to enter too if you join or renew.

Getting more people who go pike fishing to join the PAC is one of the committee's key priorities.

There's never been a better time to become part of the club for all pike anglers.

Kennet 30 rumour on AT website

A 34lbs pike has been caught from Berkshire's River Kennet, according to Angling Times's website.

More on the story here.

Eye catching new PAC membership advert

This eye-catching new PAC membership advert will soon be appearing in magazines, as the PAC steps up its membership drive.

It features Norfolk PAC member Phil Pearson, with a 28lbs Fen river beauty.

Blithfield off after gale warnings

This weekend's fishing has been postponed after discussions with the management in the light of the weather forecast.

More on P&P.

The Highways Agency has today advised drivers to take extra care while driving as the Met Office forecast severe gales and heavy rain for many parts of the country overnight and into tomorrow.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Win a boat promotion update

PAC membership secretary John Cahill has been deluged with TXTs and e-mails since we launched a new recruitment campaign which gives members the chance to win a boat.

Please check these FAQs through in answer to your questions:
Applications for entry are for NEW members to the club (not 2006 renewals).

Entries will only be permitted from date of the promotions announcement made via Pikelines and this blog on November 21.

Applications only count if they are made on the forms which will shortly be mailed to members, (NOT Paypal).

If the new member wishes to use standing order then a mandate is available via the club website or from the Membership Secretary & must be attached to the completed application form instead of a cheque.

Prize draw entries will be confirmed to the introducing member by Mike Kelly, promotions manager (please allow 28 days for confirmation)

In the event of a disputed entry the chairman of the PAC's decision is final.
The Draw will take place at the 2007 Conference at Stoneleigh on 22nd Sept 2007.

Nige Williams interview on video

Nige Williams talks of his fears of losing his livelihood and his regret over the Holyhead incident in a video clip on the Angling Times website.

Hold onto your hats - gales on the way

Forecasters today warned Britain would be battered by potentially dangerous gales of up to 75mph this weekend.
They reckon Wales, the Midlands, and northern counties are most likely to be affected by the south-westerly gales.

Conditions are tipped to be windier than at any time last winter.

Why livebaiting must stay - Bowler

Angling Times columnist and all-rounder Martin Bowler today called on angling to campaign to retain the right to livebait.
In a video interview on the new Angling Times website, he says using live fish for bait was one of his favourite methods.
"I'm a hunter and catching pike with live bait is a devastating, natural way to fish and it should continue," he said.
"But pikers have a key role to play - baits must only be used when they are caught from the venue you are fishing - we must never transfer fish otherwise we shoot ourselves in the foot."
You can see it here .

North Lanarkshire region now online

North Lanarkshire is the latest PAC region to set up a blog to keep people informed of what's going on.

Check it out here.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Broads Authority hits back over dredging

The Broads Authority has replied to claims it's failing to safeguard Norfolk's unique waterways and their historic pike fisheries.

See here.

Start 'em young, says PAC man Craig

They reckon you need to start the kids off early if you want to get them hooked on fishing.

But some might say PAC member Craig Lewis is taking that to ridiculous extremes, after joining his son or daughter before they're even born.

"My missus says I'm sad but I've made our baby, which is due in March 2007, a PAC member," the Clitheroe, Lancs-based piker said.

"The baby has got its own membership card, with Baby Lewis, which I hope to update in due course. can anyone beat that..?"

Any takers - without going into too much detail for a family fishing club..?

Signing up for the PAC forums

Nearly 350 of you already have and Pikelines features a Web News update from the club's webmaster Dave Lumb.

If you're wondering why you keep getting bounced, you have to use your real name as your sign-in, as per the instructions on the registration page.

Spare a minute to read them before you try to register and all will be revealed.

Pike match code and the story behind it

Pikelines spills the beans on the new code of conduct for pike matches and negotiations which went on behind the scenes to make it happen.

"We are hoping the code could be a watershed as far as pike matches, the way they are conducted and more importantly their impact on pike stocks are concerned," the report says.

It adds the ACA has now clarified its stance on livebaiting, which proved a stumbling block beforehand.

Support our membership drive, urges Mark

PAC secretary Mark Barrett is urging to all members to support the club's new recruitment drive.

As Pikelines lands on the doormats offering a purpose-built pike fishing boat as a prize linked to the campaign, Mark said: "In years to come, pike are going to come under increasing pressure.

"To be able to represent the pike angling world we need to have the force of numbers, because it's numbers that make the people that count sit up and take notice.

"Please get involved in the promotion. Badger your fishing mates to join the club as with more numbers our voice grows louder."

Every time someone recruits a member, using special leaflets which will be sent out shortly, their name gets entered in the draw for a Sea Nymph from CP Boats.

The PAC has teamed up with CP boss and long-standing supporter Chris Parry to offer the 12ft version of the aluminium craft, which will accommodate two anglers and their gear.

Join now and you'll receive Pikelines and have a chance to enter the promotion. The big prize will be drawn at net year's PAC Convention, at Stoneleigh, Warks.

Constitutional changes on the agenda

Two minor tweaks to the PAC's constitution are included in this Pikelines.

We need to advertise them to members before we make the changes, so we can take members' comments into account.

We want to change the requirement for the committee to select another chairman during the second year of its term.

The simple reason for this is we are unanimous that we wish Colin Goodge to remain in this vital role throughout our term of office.

We also want to change the stated aims of the club from promting awareness and best practice throughout Great Britain to doing so wherever needed.

PAC Committee

It's win, win, win with Pikelines

You could win a boat for recruiting a mate, a superb Skee-Tex fishing suit, or even a pair of moon boots.

Then there's Mike Kelly's Mega Winter Raffle, with 100 prizes up for grabs including a week's guided catfihing trip for two.

It's Pikelines time again and there's never been a better time to join the PAC. You stand more chance of winning something with us than you do on the Lottery - as if you needed another excuse.

There's no qualifying period, anyone who joins can enter any of our great draws and competitions.

Why not log onto our website and join today..?

SAA wins fight for otter fencing

The Specialist Anglers’ Alliance today announced it has agreed financial backing from the Environment Agency to help stop otter predation of still-water fish with EA funding for fencing to protect fisheries.

Until now SAA has not been able to get any financial support for fisheries affected. DEFRA were the only route SAA had to find funding for otter protection and the Department had turned down every SAA approach for support over the last five years. Stocks of specimen fish, in some fisheries, have at times been decimated by the returning otter population, but £250,000 a year to protect the interests of 2 million anglers has been impossible to find!

Specimen carp are particularly vulnerable but pike, big eels and tench, are all taken by otters. Some fisheries have been ruined by such predation, and there is enormous frustration from anglers who fish such waters that they have been unable to do anything.
Otters are fully protected by law; they may not be moved, disturbed or harmed in any way whatsoever.

SAA fully supports the return of the otter to the UK. But a top predator cannot be easily re-introduced into the managed aquatic environment, that is Britain today, without considering the consequences. SAA has worked closely with, and has had the full support of, English Nature (now Natural England), the Environment Agency, the Wildlife Trusts, and the Otter BAPS Group in trying to resolve this problem..

The only solution is to protect key fisheries with otter proof fencing. Such fencing can only be used on still-waters. SAA has been unable to develop suitable solutions for rivers. The EA funded an SAA study to establish the most cost effective fencing designs to keep otters out of specimen still-water fisheries, and these can be found on the SAA website at, and on EA websites. Fencing isn’t cheap, even a 5 acre water could cost in the region of £5,000, and a 20 acre water could need £12-15,000!

SAA has again approached EA Fisheries with a plea for help, and they have agreed that the funding issue must be addressed. Adrian Taylor of the EA has advised that;

“There is no reason why otter fencing schemes should not be considered for our project bid funding. However, we must remember that the project funding comes directly from rod licence income, and therefore we need to ensure that the maximum number of anglers benefit from projects that we fund. Therefore bids are more likely to be successful if they relate to waters that are easily available - i.e. open membership, and if they are collaborative, so that the Agency is part funding. We would also expect the owner of the water to be making a contribution to the protection of their own assets to reflect the benefit that will come with this work'

The route for this funding is through our Area teams, and Fisheries Development Managers, who will also be able to provide more general advice, and may also be able to assist in identifying other sources for collaborative funding. I suggest that if you can identify one or two potential schemes, we can then point you in the direction of the relevant local team to consider.”

So the door is now open for a large number of waters to protect their fisheries from the ravages of otter predation. Anglers must also look beyond this to ensure all specimen fisheries at risk are able to obtain financial support, and SAA looks to the EA to include a submission for an increase in funding, to cover fencing costs for a wide range of waters. Without this many more large fish may be killed and there will be no way of preventing it.

Those waters now suffering fish kills from otters must face the reality of an ongoing problem and either install fencing or face long-term fish kills. Bids to Environment Agency teams need to be structured and match funding will be vital to success. If You think SAA can help, Contact us by email at

Monday, November 20, 2006

Watch out for new recruitment campaign

Don't miss our exciting new recruitment campaign if you want to be in with a chance of winning a mouth-watering prize in the shape of a brand new, purpose-built pike fishing boat.

All you have to do is sign up a new member this winter to be in with a shout. But the more people you get to join the club for all pike anglers, the more chances you get to win.

Members will shortly be receiving a mailing with details of how to enter and some special membership leaflets. The draw will be made at next year's PAC Convention.

If you haven't already joined up or your membership's lapsed, there's still time to make sure you're in with a chance. You can join or renew using Paypal via our website.

Code of conduct for pike matches online

The PAC's code of conduct for pike matches has now been added to our website.

The aim is to get those who organise or take part in them to take fish welfare seriously and minimise the harm such events can cause to waters.

See the code here.

Congratulations to FISHINGmagic

Our friends at FISHINGmagic have smashed through the 30,000-member mark over the weekend . Well done guys...

December's P&P sneak preview

December's Pike and Predators is now on the news stands.

It has a theme of Positive Piking with articles on very active forms of pike fishing to help you to catch more fish this winter. Amongst the highlights are:

James Holgate looking at the best times to troll;

Scott Davidson discussing winning ways afloat;

Dean Brook on getting the best from small rivers;

Mick Brown looks at the development if various pike and predators methods;

Neville Fickling is controversial as ever;

Plus, editor James Holgate hits back at recent statements from a well known match angler about culling pike on rivers.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Lincoln host Mark Barrett talk

Lincoln PAC are hosting PAC secretary Mark Barrett for a talk on Monday, December 4.

Mark will be speaking about his wide-ranging predator fishing career at the Turk's Head in Newport, Lincoln, from 7pm.

All anglers welcome, admission is £2.50 for PAC members/£3 non-members.

STOP PRESS: Steve Rodwell, ET and Rob Christen are signed up for talks in the New Year. See Lincoln PAC blog for more details.

Ayrshire meeting venue change

We're not sure what RA52, AKA Ayrshire get up to in their spare time but they're the kiss of death if you're in the licensed trade.

Hotels where they have their meetings have a habit of closing down shortly afterwards.

Yet another venue has been announced for Friday, November 24, when Dave McLachlin is doing the honours as guest speaker and they're laying on a buffet at the Savoy Park Hotel in Racecourse Road, Ayr, at 7.30pm.

Menteith sets the grapevine buzzing

The grapevine's buzzing after the Pike Anglers Alliance for Scotland's privileged access day on the Lake of Menteith today.

Unconfirmed reports say a 35lbs lump was the best of 10 twenties - four of them to one boat - with 70-odd doubles out.

Deadline recovered from River Nene

This illegal deadline was removed from the River Nene, in Northamptonshire, by a PAC member this week.

The hooks were baited with fish heads, worms and even bacon rind.

If you find set lines, disable them straight away - before they kill a fish or bird.

Then make sure you report your find to the Environment Agency on their 24 hour hotline 0800 807060.

Store the number on your mobile, so you've got it handy when you need it.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Earth calling Tony Blair - do you care..?

Our friends the Specialist Anglers' Alliance had this to say after the Salmon and Freshwater Fisheries Review was again omitted from the Queen's Speech, as the Government set out its programme for the next session of Parliament:

"The anglers of England are worried, worried about "fish theft", worried about illegal fishing, worried about fish diseases, worried about illegal imports, worried that you keep reducing funding for vital fisheries work within the Environment Agency, worried that you promised so much and delivered so little for four million anglers."

More on the SAA blog .

Pikelines will be on its way on Monday

Pikelines has now finished printing and will be in the post to members on Monday, editor Steve Ormrod said tonight.

As well as some cracking features and a few ideas to help kick start your winter, this issue features an exciting recruitment campaign which gives anyone who recruits another member the chance to win a mouth-watering prize.

Members receive our highly-acclaimed magazine four times a year. Many regard it as one of the best benefits the club provides.

If you're not already in the PAC, you'll have to join to get it.

Broads pikers fear the worst

Broads pikers are fearing the worst tonight with the first reports of dead pike being washed up after last weeks salt tides.

Salt surges killed thousands of coarse fish in Norfolks tidal rivers after a North Sea storm drove seawater inland.

Worst-hit was the Thurne around Potter Heigham, where an estimated 50,000 roach and bream were lost.

But today Brundall-based pike guide Charlie Bettell told the Pike and Predators forum dead pike were beginning to appear in the Yare, with carcases seen in the Brundall boatyards, and Yare broads Surlingham and Rockland.

It is believed the fish may have sunk to the bottom after being overcome by the salt and have taken 10 days or so to gas up and float to the surface.

Mirror girl goes piking with Matt and Mick

Daily Mirror reporter Beth Hardie soon got the hang of pike fishing with the help of Matt Hayes and Mick Brown.
"The idea is to launch the lure into the air using the rod, let go of the line and flick it out far into the lake and reel it back in with the hope the pike will try and eat your lure. That’s the idea anyway..."

More top tips here .

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Holyhead Two admit fish smuggling charge

Pike anglers were urged to follow the PAC’s code of conduct tonight after two high-profile anglers pleaded guilty to trying to smuggle livebaits from the UK to Ireland.

Holyhead magistrates heard Nigel Williams and Gary Banks were stopped in May as they boarded a ferry from Holyhead, North Wales, to Ireland.

Customs officers found 100 carp, roach and goldfish, in the boot of Williams’s car, the court was told.

Williams, 48, and Banks, 37, were travelling to Ireland for a fishing trip, taking the fish with them for use as bait. The men, both from Wolverhampton, were later charged with exporting live fish without a health certificate.

Williams, who did not attend the hearing, entered a guilty plea via letter to the court. Banks, who attended in person, also admitted the offence.

The case against Williams was adjourned until December 21 when he will be sentenced at the same court. Banks was fined £800 and ordered to pay £500 costs.

In a statement after the hearing, the Pike Anglers Club of Great Britain said: "Our code of conduct calls on our members to respect byelaws and not to transfer fish illegally from water to water.

"We urge all pike anglers to fish responsibly and not to jeopardise either the waters they fish or the image of pike fishing, at a time when we are coming under increasing scrutiny.

"While there are those who would claim activities such as translocating livebaits are commonplace, there have only been a handful of prosecutions involving pike anglers since the translocation of baits without Environment Agency consent was banned."

Earlier Stephen Smith, prosecuting on behalf of the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, told the court the transport of live fish without the correct documentation had been banned to prevent the spread of disease.

He said the case, which cost more than £5000, had been brought to deter other anglers.

“Mr Williams is something of a celebrity angler, he is very high profile in the angling world,” he added. “The defendants in this case knew what they were doing. They knew it was not appropriate to take live fish out of Wales to Ireland.

"These are two high profile anglers and we must be seen to take these processes seriously otherwise it opens the floodgates for other people.''

In a letter handed to the court, Williams said he "deeply regretted'' his actions. John Meredith, defending Banks, said his client was a recreational fisherman who was "very sorry'' for what he had done.

PAC chairman Colin Goodge said: "This is a sorry episode which reflects badly on pike fishing at a time when more than ever, we need to show that we are capable of pursuing our sport responsibly.

"British pike anglers have enjoyed the hospitality of the people of Ireland for more than three decades and it does us untold harm when this hospitality is abused, particularly by two prominent anglers who should be setting an example to others.

"In view of some of the threats our sport faces nearer home, we would urge all pike anglers - whether they are PAC members or not - to fish responsibly and in accordance with our code of conduct.''

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Fish thieves flee when caught red-handed

PAC member Mark Thomas disturbed eastern European fish thieves in the act as they plundered a river near his home in Northants.

Taking his dog for a walk along the bank, he saw two men behaving suspiciously near the water.

"They were acting a bit strange so I stopped and asked them what they were doing down here as it's not somewhere you find people hanging around," he said.

"They were both wet up to their knees and had a few black bags with them.

"They acted as if they didn't understand me, when I identified myself as a club ticket holder and asked them to show me what was in the bags, they ran off."

The bin bags contained about 10 jacks and some perch of around a pound. When Mark looked along the bank, he found set lines baited with worms, fish and even bacon rind.

"I phoned the secretary of the club and left a message and contacted the local police station," he went on.

"But yes, you've guessed it - they did not want to know. And the EA reckon fish theft is not a problem.

"I know these people have to eat and I also know that its OK to take fish in their own countries but they need educating and showing its not the way we do things here.

"When are the people in charge of this country realise we have to look after our land and our countryside now - not when it's too late."

The PAC advises all members to store the EA's 24/7 Emergency Hotline number on their mobiles and use it to report all suspicious activity on our riverbanks. It's free to call on 0800 807060.

All eyes on Queen's Speech

National security and the Government's plans to tackle climate change, crime and immigration are expected to dominate the Queen's Speech, as Parliament officially re-opens today.

But the PAC and other angling bodies will also be scanning the small print for any news on the Salmon and Freshwater Fisheries Review.

The review - which was originally intended to become a new fisheries bill - includes proposals to allow the Environment Agency powers to seek bait bans such as the Cumbrian ban on coarse baits, in allegedly environmentally-sensitive areas.

But the draft bill appears to have drifted off the Government's agenda for now and its status is unclear.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Bill Palmer talk in Cambridgeshire

Piking legend Bill Palmer got his second wind when he retired, nailing 30 twenties in a season.

His talk was one of the highlights of the PAC Convention in Leeds two months ago.

Now he's on his way to the depths of the Fens, to share his unique appropach with the PAC's Ely/Fenland Region.

Bill will be at the Sportsman Social Club, in Chatteris on Thursday night (November 16...). The do kicks off at 8pm, for map and further details look here .

Phil Wakeford's Bath talk cancelled

PAC president Phil Wakeford's talk in Bath, which was scheduled for Thursday, December 14, has been cancelled owing to circumstances beyond our control.

We apologise for any disappointment, an alternative date will be arranged somewhere in the South-west in the New Year.

Well knackered after Venacher - chairman

Loch Venacher was the scene for day two of the PAC's privileged access weekend in Scotland.

While the Lake of Menteith had really come on song, producing a rake of 20s topped by Dave Lumb's 29lbs fish the previous day, Venacher wasn't going to give up its secrets as easily.

Just two doubles and a sprinkling of jacks were caught on Sunday. But catching fish isn't the only reason people travel hundreds of miles to fish these events, with the crack and chance to bump into old friends and make new ones as much a part of the PAC's culture.

Chairman Colin Goodge, who stewarded both events, faced a nine-hour drive back to his home in the Cambridgeshire Fens today.

"I'm just a bit tired," he admitted tonight. "But we can say without a doubt it was a successful weekend."

Many paid tribute to special events organiser Mark Skinner, who arranged both events. When severe weather warnings were broadcast on Thursday, he organised a ring-around to advise members.

Any PAC member can apply to fish the club's privileged access events. For the more popular venues, which are usually over-surbscribed, there is a live draw for places at the PAC's annual convention.

For more information on special events, check out the PAC website here.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Don't miss The Accidental Angler

The first hour-long episode of Charles Rangeley-Wilson's Accidental Angler travelogue is being screened on BBC2 tonight (8pm Sunday).

In tonight's show, CRW travels to India in search of the legendary tiger of the river, the mahseer, in the first fishing programme to be screened on mainstream TV in yonks.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Pikelines out soon with great prize offer

Pikelines 114 is now at the printers and will be winging its way to members around November 20, says editor Steve Ormrod.

Along with the usual mix of news and features from the world of pike fishing, we'll be announcing an exciting new recruitment campaign, which gives everyone who gets a mate to join the PAC the chance to win a fantastic prize.

If you haven't already renewed your PAC membership don't delay. You'll kick yourself if you miss it.

New angling in schools scheme launched

An important new initiative has just been launched to promote angling in schools, the SAA blog reports.

More here .

Menteith newsflash.... Menteith newsflash...

More than 200 pike - including seven 20s and more than 40 doubles - were caught during the PAC's privileged access event on the Lake of Menteith today.

There were fears the event would have to be cancelled, with gales predicted. But the winds were gentler than forecast and the fish were well up for it.

PAC webmaster Dave Lumb (top pic) had the biggest fish of the day at 29lbs on a Burt.

Iain Watkins (left) wasn't far behind with this beautiful 28lbs which fell to a Castaic.

PAC special events organiser Mark Skinner said: "All in all a great day for an event that could have been cancelled."

Tomorrow (sunday), we have a privilege access day on Loch Venacher. Check the PAC newsblog tomorrow night to see how it went...

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Pike angler nails record Chew brownie

PAC member Carl Garratt has taken the brown trout record on Chew Valley today.

Fishing the Westcountry reservoir with other pike anglers, he caught a 13lbs brownie on a mackerel tail.

IMPORTANT Menteith update

After checking advance weather forecasts and a number of discussions with the management at Lake of Menteith tonight, the situation is as follows.

Saturday's Menteith event has not been cancelled as of tonight but the forecast is borderline, winds of 20 - 25mph with higher gusts expected.

Weather predictions 48 hours or more in advance are not an exact science and the weather could be better or worse than that forecast on the day.

Those wishing to travel up anyway will be able to fish provided the management at Menteith are happy it is safe to do so.

If the event is cancelled during the day, they will be offered the opportunity to fish another day next Saturday, November 25.

Anyone who would rather cancel can have their money refunded.

Committee members will tonight be contacting all those who have drawn places in case anyone misses this announcement.

Pike eats pike - underwater footage

Nice film clip of a large pike eating a smaller one - like they do

- here.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Piking 2007 venue pencilled in

Next year's PAC Convention looks set to be held at Stoneleigh Park, near Coventry, on Saturday, September 22.

Don't miss new BBC fishing series

Don't miss The Accidental Angler - a new series which starts on BBC2 on Sunday night (8pm).

Norfolk-based presenter Charles Rangeley-Wilson is best-described as Michael Palin with a fly rod, an engaging writer who weaves a strong conservation message into tales of his travels.

Just the sort of positive PR angling needs.

PAC targets fishing clubs - Angling Times

As this week's Angling Times reports, the PAC has written to clubs controlling fishing along the Warwickshire Avon, in response to former World Champion match angler Bob Nudd's claims there were too many pike in the river and they needed culling.

We've asked for their assurance they won't be mounting a predator cull, while we look into the legal situation as regards clubs which rent or lease their waters from the Environment Agency staging a cull.

AT has launched a Protect Our Predators campaign, which the PAC supports.

We urge all predator anglers to be vigilant and inform us of any anti-pike letters or articles which appear in their local press.

Encouraging news from Abberton

Pike anglers have met with water officials to discuss the future of fishing on Abberton Reservoir.

While we were originally told fishing would cease once the proposed enlargement scheme got under way, the news tonight is more encouraging.

After lobbying by the PAC, it looks like areas will be set aside for anglers - both while work is going on and afterwards.

Tonight Abberton stalwart Bill Palmer told the PAC Members Forum: "It's early days but it's looking good, with a bit of luck we could end up with better fishing there in the future."

Essex and Suffolk Water (ESW) wants to increase the size of the reservoir, in a bid to stop the taps running dry in drought-hit Essex.

But there are concerns about the affect increased abstraction from the Ely Ouse, which the water firm claims is needed to fill the lake, could have on the Fens.

The PAC is calling for a public enquiry into how the scheme could affect historically important pike fisheries and their environment.

Monday, November 06, 2006

PAC forums sign up 300th member

Stewart McMath, from Lanarkshire, tonight became the 300th person to sign up for the PAC Members Forums.

If you haven't already joined, why not register and check them out..?

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Cumbrian pikers launch blog

North Lakes up in Cumbria is the latest PAC region to launch a blog to keep everyone in touch with meetings and other events.

They're staging a fish-in at Coniston on Sunday, November 12 - for more details see here.

Pikers rescue woman from River Yare

Pike anglers plucked an elderly woman to safety after she fell into Norfolk's River Yare at the weekend.

The woman was aboard a cruiser which was mooring up on the tidal river at Wood's End, near Bramerton, on Saturday, when she lost her footing.

Piker Ian Squirrell, from Diss, was fishing off the bank and the boat went through his lines and snapped him off, before the woman fell in nearby.

"She just went in and totally disappeared for 10 seconds, then she popped up right under the back of the boat," he said.

"I grabbed her arm, but I couldn't pull her up. All I could do was hold her, then my mate came along and we managed to pull her up the bank."

The tide was running off hard and dredging and piling work on the river means the margins are 12ft deep where the woman, believed to be in her sixties, went in.

Ian lent the woman a change of clothes he had in his van and she recovered after a cup of tea and a tot of whisky.

"She ended up in some clothes I had in the back of the van - tracksuit bottoms and camo," said Ian.

"They took my address and said they'd wash them and post them back to me - I said good luck if you can get them clean..."

Friday, November 03, 2006

Mystery picture competition winner

Congratulations to Lee Hall, for rightly guessing the mystery picture was a close-up shot of the Creek Chub Pikie lure which landed Roy Lewis's 46lbs 13oz record pike, at Llandegfed Reservoir, in October 1992.

Lee wins a pair of what our press officer calls lucky socks for being the first to guess the significance of the tooth-marked lure.

But don't worry Lee - the four-eyed news machine assures us he hasn't worn them yet.

Roy has recently been in touch with the PAC from his adopted home in New Zealand and an interview for a forthcoming Pikelines looking back at the day he went out for a day's piking and came home a record holder is on the cards.

In the meantime you can marvel at the picture of this historic pike on the PAC website - which is the only place in the whole wide world you can see this awesome fish online, with kind permission from Angling Times.

Put yourself in the picture in the PAC Gallery

Caught your first ever 20, a new PB or just a beautifully-marked pike..?

E-mail it to us and we'll put it up on the PAC Members Gallery.

Our collection of members' pictures already features fish from a few ounces up to over 40lbs.

You can check it out here and if you've got a shot you'd like to see included, e-mail it to

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Thurne pike living on borrowed time

For once, pike in the vulnerable River Thurne seem to have escaped the worst of the floods which ravaged Norfolk.

But tens of thousands of coarse fish died as a North Sea storm surge drove salt water inland, what some described the highest tides in 40 years.

And climate change experts are already warning such occurences will become common place, as climate change leads to rising sea levels and more extreme weather patterns.

As hopes faded that a missing sea angler, who was swept out to sea by a massive wave would be found alive, a leading scientist said similar storms to the one which lashed East Anglia's low-lying coastline on Tuesday night would become a regular occurence.

Keith Tovey, of the University of East Anglia, told the Eastern Daily Press: "Where such events might have occurred once in a generation, they may now happen every decade, and in the not-too-distant future that could be every two or three years.”

As the flood waters recede, the worrying thing for all anglers is that the incurion of salt water into the Broads would become increasingly common.

Pike anglers know that the shallow Thurne is particularly vulerable to salt tides. At times the river's predators have been all-but wiped out, taking a decade or more for the fishing to recover.

Some are already blaming the worst of the flooding, along the Yare and Waveney valleys, on new flood defences which contain rivers instead of allowing them to spill onto flood plains which have soaked up excess water for centuries.

Pressure to build new homes means housing encroaches onto more and more of them, meaning flood defences are built in a bid to divert water away.

The Upper Thurne and its legendary pike fisheries are in the front line, as the Government talks of managed retreat, rather than trying to protect the fragile coastline which stands between them and the increasingly-unpredictable North Sea.

But there was anger in Parliament today when North West Norfolk MP Henry Bellingham - a keen angler - told the Commons the Environment Agency would be spending £14.9m less this year on flood risk management, claiming the cut would mean less channel clearance and maintenance, less flood mapping and fewer feasibility studies.

Pike anglers are no strangers to the affect of EA budget cuts on their fishing, with the agency seemingly powerless to combat widespread fish killing.

Environment Minister Ian Pearson said the EA's budget for next year had not yet been set, but admitted there had been a cut this year.

But Mr Bellingham said: “The minister doesn't seem to understand that if you cut revenue spending on flood defences, they will deteriorate”.

While the Thurne's pike appear to have escaped the anger of the North Sea this week, it's clear some of our finest pike fisheries are living on borrowed time.

Massive fish kill after floods hit Norfolk Broads

Fish stocks have been decimated on the River Thurne, after Norfolk was hit by floods.

High tides and gales on Tuesday night caused seawater to surge upriver, killing fish in their thousands.

Worst-hit was the Thurne at Potter Heigham, where the Environment Agency said it had received countless reports of dead fish of all species.

An EA spokesman said: "Tens of thousands of fish have been found dead at Potter Heigham in the biggest incident like this we have had for 15 years.

"Because of the storms, salt water washed in and freshwater fish can't cope with that."

While salt tides have practically wiped out the Thurne system's pike periodically over the last century or so, their prey appeared to have borne the brunt of casualties, with large numbers of roach, bream and rudd dead.

When salt tides are expected, the agency usually puts down a barrier at Herbert Woods boatyard, in Potter Heigham, which allows fish to find sanctuary in freshwater.

But experts think the recent mild weather has meant fish have been shoaled further downstream than normal and so were unable to escape the tide.

Thousands of fish were also killed when the River Chet burst its banks near Loddon.

But today the EA said salt levels were falling and rain was expected to help flows push salt downstream.

Wednesday morning saw parts of the Yare and Waveney valleys flooded by what were described as the highest tides for 40 years. Cars and riverside properties were under feet of water at Brundall, near Norwich.

A sea angler was feared drowned after he was washed away by a freak wave at Kessingland Beach, near Lowestoft, on Wednesday morning. He was later named as 41-year-old Martyn Franklin, from Lowestoft.

More here .

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Can you win our mystery picture quiz..?

With all the brown stuff hitting the fan these days, we all need to take five and unwind sometimes.

So why not put your grey matter to work and have a bash at our little fun quiz.

There's a mystery prize up for grabs for the first person who can tell us what's in the picture above and its significance as far as pike fishing's concerned.

There's a thread on the PAC Members' Forums you can add your answer to.

MP calls for a new body to speak up for us

Calls for a £1 levy on rod licence fees to fund a national body to speak out for angling were made today by Labour’s parliamentary spokesman for angling Martin Salter.

The Reading West MP and keen barbel angler has published a discussion paper setting out the case for a stronger and more professional national body to speak up for angling.

Martin said: “There are a number of ways to raise funds and a voluntary levy on the rod licence, of say £1 is one option worthy of consideration.

"I want to know what anglers think which is why I am encouraging this debate. Please email me your views to A full copy of this paper is also available on my website ."


By Martin Salter MP

For a long time I have believed that angling in this country needs a strong and powerful voice to speak up on the issues that affect our sport. I also want to see a more professional approach to the structure and governance of angling to enable Britain’s most popular participant sport to properly punch its weight. At the moment we are the poor relations when compared to countries such as France, Holland or America.

However, all of this will cost money and it is high time that we had a thorough debate within angling on how we raise sufficient funds to pay for the services we need. Currently we have just a handful of paid staff working for organisations such as the N.F.A, S&T.A, N.F.S.A, A.C.A and the umbrella body, F.A.C.T. Just take a look at the equivalent body for shooting, B.A.S.C which has nearly 100 paid staff looking after the interests of less than one million shooters in Britain.

How on earth can we compete with the likes of the R.S.P.B or the British Canoe Union on issues such as cormorant predations or river access if we haven’t got the people or resources to properly make the case to the government, the media and the public at large?

Last month I organised an important stakeholders meeting with DEFRA on the subject of KHV and was struck by how many of angling’s representatives sat round the table were volunteers taking the day off work and travelling to London at their own expense. This is simply ridiculous for a sport that claims 3.5 million participants.

I’ve set out some of the work that could benefit from an increased funding stream. This is not an exhaustive list and I would welcome other suggestions.

What could be achieved:

• A single powerful voice with the Government, Parliament, the Environment Agency, NGOs and other stakeholders

• Positive recognition of the fact that 3.5 million people enjoy recreational fishing and its contribution to a social and healthy lifestyle

• Positive recognition of the £3.5 billion contribution angling makes to the English and Welsh economy each year and how this could grow with a more professional approach to its development

• Professional advice on accessing funding opportunities for angling projects

• Efficient use of the funding which goes into angling representation, enabling the creation of a thoroughly professional influencing organization

• An improved aquatic environment; what is good for fish is also good for other life forms

• Stronger leadership and accountability within angling and fisheries

• Promotion of angling and fisheries

• Professional support for angling organisations

• Legal advice

It is perfectly true to state that as yet there are no plans to introduce a levy, either voluntary or compulsory. There are also a range of practical issues that need addressing, including the role of existing angling governing bodies, legal status, and lines of accountability.

However, I firmly believe that the time is right to ask these questions and find out what anglers really think. Are they prepared to pay less than the cost of half a pint of maggots to help improve the prospects for their sport? Let’s have the debate.


Twenty "choked to death on duck"

A pike washed up dead at a Lincolnshire nature reserve choked to death on a duck, according to the local wildlife trust.

Staff at the Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust found the fish, which they claimed measured four feet long at a gravel pit.

On examining it, they found a tufted duck stuck in its throat and assume this is what brought about its demise.

Karen Gray of Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust, told Practical Fishkeeping magazine: "It was too slippery to grip with gloves and the teeth were too sharp to pull it in to look at properly, so I grabbed it by the gill covers. It was then that I could see the adult duck wedged right down the back of its throat.

"I suppose all the backward facing teeth in the roof of its mouth prevented it spitting the unlucky duck out."

Ms Gray said she planned to clean the skull of the pike and show it to visiting school children. She reckoned the head was 16" long.

But that's nothing compared to a fish one Practical Fishkeeping reader said they'd seen.

"There is a preseved skull of a pike in Glasgow ( Kelvingrove Art Gallery And Museum) that was found on the shores of Loch Lomond and is of a pike that was at least NINE FEET in length," one says in the comments box at the end of the story.

"If you don't believe me , go to the Museum and see it for yourself! It really is quite amazing that these fish can reach this size!"

If you don't believe us, you can read more here .

PAC forums and feed are soaring

October was a busy month for the PAC members forums and the club's running newsfeed.

More than 200 people have now subscribed to the feed, while our forums are nearing the 300-member mark and received 146,671 page views last month, PAC webmaster Dave Lumb said today.

Feed subscribers can sign up to receive regular e-mail updates from the club, with all the latest news in piking.

Please note you have to respond to a special confirmation e-mail to activate your account. Look out for it as some e-mail providers sweep it into your junk mail folder.

If you click on the link and nothing happens, just copy and paste it into your browser window to make it work.

Pike cull needed on Ancholme too, claim

Club officials believe a river and a canal in the north-east need a pike cull, according to a local newspaper report.

Two weeks after Bob Nudd stunned predator anglers by claiming pike should be removed from three Midlands rivers, an official from Scunthorpe District Angling Association, who writes a column in the Scunthorpe Evening Telegraph, says he supports him.

Beleagured Nudd later claimed he had meant pike should be removed alive and placed in other waters, as anger erupted at his remarks.

Now Tom Wilson, who writes for the Telegraph, says a cull is needed on the River Ancholme and the Keadby Canal, because both have too many pike.

The PAC is today contacting Scunthorpe DAA and sending them copies of Pike in Your Waters.